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To have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life?

(35 Posts)
OhThisIsJustGrape Fri 26-Oct-12 10:44:27

Long story: was very capable academically at school but I chose to have fun with my friends rather than knuckle down and work hard. Result was, unsurprisingly, I didn't get the greatest set of gcse results although did get 5 A-C grades.

Left school, gave college a go (A levels) but ended up getting kicked out of home due to my appalling behaviour. College fell by the wayside and I left there after a term too. Eventually sorted myself out, moved back home, got a job and realised I needed to sort my life out. Applied to a different college for the following September but fell pregnant in the May. Decided to keep my baby against everyone's wishes (inc the father's) and didn't go to college. Instead I took one a level when DS was 2yrs old.

Met my now DH, we had another child together, I worked various jobs when the children were small but mostly shop work. By the time they were both at school I managed to get a job as a teaching assistant. I loved this job, learnt sign language etc but then we decided to have another baby. Followed by another. I now haven't worked in 5yrs, youngest dc is 2yrs old.

I know I'll have to get a job once he starts school but what? I've always wanted to be a midwife but realistically this won't happen. DH works very long hours in his own business and that will always take priority over any work that I do (for one I could never match his earning potential), childcare will always come down to me in school holidays and if ill and I'll still end up doing all the cooking/cleaning/general house running.

DH made a comment the other evening about how I've wasted my life - he claims he didn't mean it nastily and that I'm still young enough to do something about it (35) but it cut me quite deep. I feel that despite the children having been a joint decision to have, I'm left to sacrifice everything in order to have them. I told him that I'd never have the freedom to work without the worry of what goes on at home, unlike he does.

Oh I don't know, this is a bit long but I don't know what to do with myself really sad

Wetthemogwai Fri 26-Oct-12 10:50:52

I'm in a similar boat really, I'm a single mum with half a useless degree and am desperate to start a proper life and career for myself but have no idea where to start! I've nothing useful to contribute but will be watching for any advice and wish you the best of luck

OhThisIsJustGrape Fri 26-Oct-12 10:53:44

I have thought about doing a degree, my siblings both have good degrees which I'm often remeinded of by my father, and I feel it's a life experience I've missed out on.

How on earth would I fund it though? Aren't tuition fees something like 9K a year?

blondie80 Fri 26-Oct-12 11:00:41

I am mid changing career at the moment, (32yo). I too wasn't sure what to do at first but decided by looking at what I like doing, what I'm good at and what I'm not so good at. I have two dd and dh works shifts so it has been a bit of a struggle, (I work ft too), but it will be worth it next year when I qualify. Also it has made me a lot happier generally.
I know two women who started midwifery this year, both in mid 30's and both from childcare backgrounds, and have young children not long in school.
Perhaps get a prospectus from local college/uni and go down the course list and highlight any thing you might fancy doing? Then you could look into each in more detail to see what would suit your situation?

fluffyraggies Fri 26-Oct-12 11:09:01

OP your story sounds amazingly familiar smile right down to the teaching assistant bit. I'm a few years older than you, and my kids are teens now, and i too have been thinking about looking at becoming a midwife.

But i'm terrified of starting it, throwing the family routine out, spending money that we havn't got on it, stressing everyone out with my studying, only to loose my enthusiasm and bail out. Or find i'm not good enough. Or end up hating the job and not earning enough to justify it. Arrgghh.

Watching thread along with you OP ...

OhThisIsJustGrape Fri 26-Oct-12 11:13:43

That is a big part of it - can I actually commit to anything? I'd love to be a midwife but do I want to work on Christmas day for exam

OhThisIsJustGrape Fri 26-Oct-12 11:15:38

Oh ffs, stupid iPhone!

Do I want to work on Christmas day for example? It's bad enough that DH is never here, I'm not sure it would be fair on the children if I wasn't here much either.

On the other hand, I do feel resentful that DH has his career, mostly because I've sacrificed mine.

LadyMargolotta Fri 26-Oct-12 11:20:46

At the age of 35, you do have plenty of time to re train.

I don't understand why you feel resentful towards your dh - the comment he made about you wasting your life was unhelpful and nasty - but it's not all his fault. As you say, it's been down to circumstances since when you were at school and everything that has happened since then, not just because you stopped work when you had your dh's children.

The teaching assistant job and sign language sound interesting, do you want to get back into this sort of work? You probably need to speak to a professional career's advisor about what training is available to you.

coldcupoftea Fri 26-Oct-12 11:23:16

Would you not want to go back to being a TA? Ok the money's not great, but it is v rewarding and fits in well with the kids. You could always study in the evenings for a part time OU degree.

Fwiw I was a straight A student, have a0 degree and an MA, but never really managed a high flying career and now I have just started as a TA. I sometimes get the 'you could have done so much more' comments/ attitude (particularly from one v career driven friend) and I do sometimes wish I had done things differently- but then every decision I have made was for the right reason at the time, and I think career isn't everything. Plus I love being a TA!

It does annoy me sometimes when DH doesn't recognise the sacrifices I made for his career/ the family though. He made some comment the other day about me never making much money and I was quick to remind him of the number of times we moved house for his career so I ended up taking any old job and never made it far up a career ladder.

fluffyraggies Fri 26-Oct-12 11:25:20

I think the thing to do - (and i did this years ago looking at becoming a driving instructor) - is to begin researching it. Start to look into the qualifications needed (obviously) but also the job training that is given, how long and how far from home you will be expected to train, etc. Will you be a hospital based midwife, or a more 'one to one' GP surgery based midwife? Is there even a difference? lol.

I would imagine its a physically AND emotionally tough job.

As you learn about the job itself you should hopefully start to get a stronger feeling of wether this is for you or not.

It's what i'm going to do.

Wetthemogwai Fri 26-Oct-12 11:29:37

I don't want to hijack the thread but how do you become a TA?

FireOverBabylon Fri 26-Oct-12 11:30:54

Childminding? Experience as a teaching assistant and with BSL will be an asset for that.

You say that you can't train as a midwife but, if you've been able to afford for you to be at home whilst your children, is there enough money for you to do a degree as well? Midwifery and children's nursing is very competitive but that's no reason not to apply.

Are you looking for a job or a career? Shop work I would class as a job, teaching / midwifery a career. I think it might be time for you to have a chat with your DH - "DH works very long hours in his own business and that will always take priority over any work that I do (for one I could never match his earning potential), childcare will always come down to me in school holidays and if ill and I'll still end up doing all the cooking/cleaning/general house running" - if this is the situation, he can't then moan that you've wasted your life. If you also want a satisfying career, he needs to start giving and prop you up for a bit.

Woozley Fri 26-Oct-12 11:35:16

I got good academics, was a lawyer for a while now something totally different, when both kids are at school may change again. I don't think you have to stick to one career though it can be difficult to change. I've going in several directions at once at the moment, I don't know what I will end up doing. I feel a bit aimless TBH but also tons better than when I was grinding away in a job I hated. Think about what you enjoyed doing when you were younger or something you gave up as you thought you weren't good enough. Trouble is I am ok at a lot of things without being brilliant and have lots of things I like without being passionate about them. In fact I can be passionate about something for a few months then I'm so over it! I'm like Mrs Rabbit in Peppa Pig I think smile

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Fri 26-Oct-12 11:37:14

Have you looked at all the other healthcare jobs -occupational therapist for example? Might be more family friendly. Or doing an ou degree and then teacher training if you've already got ta experience. Are you near a uni? Does your husband earn enough to cover childcare while you retrain or does it need to be something you can do straight away? Midwife is fab but it does seem that women who.to gone straight to kids aren't always aware of other opportunities. You've got fab experience though. Could you look for children's centre jobs or sometimes councils employ assistants to social workers or to occupational therapists or similar and can be a way in.

Good luck

WilsonFrickett Fri 26-Oct-12 11:39:26

Fire makes a great point - the first thing you need to decide is if you want a job or career, and I say that to make a distinction that a job fits round all the things you've mentioned, a career won't necessarily and may involve further study.

(Of course, you may choose to get a job now, and then focus on a career in another 5 years, for example.)

But your DH cannot have his cake and eat it. For there to be two people 'having a career' in the house, there has to be two people doing childcare, housework, pick-ups, etc etc. It's just not sustainable any other way (unless you have enough money to buy in childcare or help around the house).

WeatherWitch Fri 26-Oct-12 11:42:12

You haven't wasted your life. You're married with children and are now starting to look at your career - and I'm speaking as someone who is also 35, in the middle of my second career and is now struggling to get the baby side of life sorted. Life isn't just about careers, despite what people seem to try to make us think.

It also sounds as if you have a couple of ideas at least what you want to do next. You're certainly not too late to retrain as a midwife (I have a colleague who just left at the age of 38 and is retraining as a doctor!) and I'd agree with the others on here who have said that you now need to do some research and find out exactly what the training involves and what hours you'd have to work.

I'd also look at the teaching side - if you really enjoyed being a TA, then going back to that is definitely an option.

Also agree with coldcupoftea about the OU. Not wanting to be rude, but presumably if you're not working and DH is supporting you both, then you're not looking to work for the money, so perhaps if you do go back to work as a TA then you could use some of your pay to fund an OU degree in your spare time. Although I do appreciate that as primary carer for your DCs there might not actually be that much spare time, so if you want to do a degree as well then maybe look at being a part time TA?

Don't feel daunted, this could be an exciting time of change for you with lots of opportunities. Good luck.

OhThisIsJustGrape Fri 26-Oct-12 11:44:03

Lots of good ideas there, thanks everyone.

I know I'm unreasonable to resent DH, I guess I'm looking for someone to blame for my shortcomings. It would be easier though if I knew that if I was working or training then he would pick up the slack. He won't. I worked 30hrs a week in previous jobs, they were luckily school hours but it was still me that did everything at home, even at weekends.

DH often has little digs about how hard he works all week, which is undeniably true, I guess I want to do something that makes me feel like I'm on an equal footing for once.

Shalloween Fri 26-Oct-12 11:45:50

Could you consider starting with some voluntary work in the kind of environment you're interested in?

When I was at a total loss as to what to do next I volunteered for Scope. I met all types of people doing all types of roles who were passionate and honest about what they did. I got to see up close what the jobs involved. I was nosy and drank in as much info as I could. It made me proud to work for a good cause and got me used to working life again.

My job there was pretty basic, helping volunteers who struggled with reading/writing to complete their CRB forms. I loved it, loved finding out about people and helping them to get into the work they wanted to do. I felt like I'd found a niche and through that I got into recruitment and HR and eventually into paid work (not for Scope sadly).

Sounds like you've already made a great life for yourself. Good luck with the next steps.

Woozley Fri 26-Oct-12 11:46:00

Make a list of all the things you do during the week. Have a weekend away with friends. He will soon appreciate everything you do.

Woozley Fri 26-Oct-12 11:46:45

Yes, I've just filled out a volunteer form for a local charity, good idea if you have a few hours to spare.

GobblersKnob Fri 26-Oct-12 11:49:35

I am 37 and have just started my degree whis year.

Yes the fees are quite terrifing, but are paid for with a loan which you do not have to start paying back unti you are earning 25k a year.

HeathRobinson Fri 26-Oct-12 11:57:42

What about training to become a speech therapist? There's always a shortage of those, isn't there?

HeathRobinson Fri 26-Oct-12 11:58:50

Oh, and someone I knew left her job as a secretary to start training to become an occupational therapist at 50.

It's not too late! smile

OhThisIsJustGrape Fri 26-Oct-12 12:11:47

As a mature student, if i decided to do a degree would I need to do the traditional route of A levels first then university? Or is there such thing as an access course than would qualify me enough for a degree?

FireOverBabylon Fri 26-Oct-12 12:21:28

Grape have a look here. smile

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